Past Perfect

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Hey everyone! This post is for those who would like to learn more about Past Perfect. If you have difficulties in memorizing some irregular verbs in the past participle, take a look at this list once in a while.




[ had + past participle ]


Aff: I had studied English before you came to Canada.

Q: Had she been married before she met John?

Neg: They had not finished their homework when the class started.

USE 1 Actions and states before a moment in the past

I’d had breakfast a few minutes before you called me.


USE 2 Finished actions and states where the important thing is the result at a moment in the past

We were happy because we’d all passed the test.


We often use the Past Perfect with these words and phrases:

* by – I’d finished my assignment by 10pm.

* by the time – By the time I got to work, the meeting had already started.

* before – The teacher had explained all the exercises before the students started their homework.

* after – I left after I’d finished the test.

* just – Julie had just finished the test when the bell rang.

* when – I left when I’d finished the test.


Whether we use simple past or past perfect can change the meaning of a sentence. The first action is always the one in Past Perfect:

The lesson started when I arrived. (I arrived and then the lesson started)

The lesson had started when I arrived. (The lesson started and then I arrived)

For more practice, click on the links below:

Perfect English Grammar


Movie Segments to Assess Grammar Goals

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